Happy New Year! A quick update on my goals for 2020.

Happy New Year!

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Social media has been inundated with lists, lists, and more lists. I won’t bother with the best books I’ve read of the decade, or what all I’ve accomplished or not accomplished. I’m not going to bother ruminating about how 2019 was a dumpster fire in every way (actually, it wasn’t for me) or the million ways I’m going to make 2020 “my year.”

It’s silly to use January 1st to reinvent yourself. You are who you are, and a new date on the calendar won’t help. But that’s not to say I don’t have a few goals I’d like to tackle this year.

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In past blog posts I’ve written about the slow sale of my books. It’s difficult to keep up your spirits when you work so hard for so little in return. But this year I’m going to take responsibility for some of that. Instead of being a trout fighting my way upstream, I need to stop resisting and go with the flow.

Part of that is realizing I’m not doing 100% of what I need to do to sell my books, and I have to admit that part of the reason is I’m scared. I don’t have faith in my Tower City trilogy. It’s the first three books I count in my contemporary backlist and somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that they are not good. Book one was chopped and diced to the point I probably should have written it over from the start. But the reviews indicate they’re pretty good, and I should get over the idea that they’re not. Sure, I may have gotten strong as a writer since I published them, but I have to stop thinking they’re bad books.

I have a few reviews of Don’t Run Away on Amazon, and I remember this is the first review from someone I didn’t know. It was a proud moment–there’s even a ToC in it now thanks to formatting with Vellum:

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I need to have faith in my ability and not be scared when people read my work.


I also need to start a newsletter. I’m not very active online. My unanswered notifications on Twitter are months old. I don’t update my Facebook author page, and all I post on Instagram are pictures of my cats. (As cute as they may be, they don’t sell my books, dammit!) I need a hub for my readers. Either a newsletter or an active reader group on Facebook where I’ll actually post something, probably both. I know I’m doing myself a disservice not having a newsletter. This means focusing my attention on readers and not spending time on Twitter or using Canva to make pretty Instagram posts the same 10 people will like over and over again.


This year I also want to do more networking in the romance/indie-publishing space. I’ve been writing and publishing for three and a half years. I’ve made a lot friends in that time, lost some too, and some of the writers I know have been in the same place they were three years ago. I’m constantly learning about the industry, always listening for the new thing, I like listening to podcasts and keeping up with industry news. I need to start chatting with like-minded people who understand the value in that. Who treat their writing like a business and put in their 20-40 hours of writing time a week. Writing is really lonely. You’re by yourself with a laptop for hours and hours at a time and I need to find peers who know what that’s like and still do it anyway.

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Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

I like the phrase, “Never be the smartest person the room.” I also feel like lately I’m the only writer in the room, and it will be nice for that to change.


These aren’t life shattering revelations, but they’re what I need to focus on moving forward if I want to start selling the books I spend so much time writing.

It’s not a secret that these next few months are a little hard on me. Winter in Minnesota is long and dreary. It’s hard to want to go anywhere because the temperatures are horrible and the roads are constantly clogged with snow. It takes a lot of energy just to get through a day with no sunshine, and I need to focus on releasing my wedding series and appreciating the little things while I wait for warmer temps and the sun to come back.

I do have a selling/marketing summit in May that I’ll be attending with David in Nashville, and I’m looking forward to that. No matter how long winter seems, spring always comes back around.

Just keep moving forward the best you can, and better times will come.

Tell me your goals for 2020. How do you plan to move forward? Let me know!


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Cabin Fever and 8 things you can do to survive it

Cabin fever is gross. You’re squirrely, you want to go outside, you feel fat. In my case, I feel like I’m suffocating because I haven’t let fresh air into my apartment since December.

Even though March is right around the corner, and with that, hopefully spring, it’s hard to keep faith when you wake up to temperatures like this:

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I posted this on my Instagram account this morning. When will we get better temps? Maybe in four to five weeks.

But who’s counting?

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What can you do to battle dreariness of cabin fever?

  1. Go outside anyway. If you’re living in a region where you wake up to this for four months out of the year, then you’re used to it. Get dressed, bundle up, and take a walk. Get some air, appreciate the snow, if you can. Remember how hot it will be in August. Throw out some seed for the birds, buy some peanuts and feed the squirrels still making the best of it. I took a walk the other day when temperatures were above 0, and it was nice.snow trail goosberry
  2. If you don’t want to go to outside, at least go out. Grab coffee with a friend, or let your kids run around the mall (if you have a decent sized one). Find a coffee shop and do some writing. Getting out, even if it’s cold, is better than staying inside and eating your way through a bag of Doritos.
  3. Speaking of junk food, eat better. Right now our produce is slowly starting to return to normal prices (Six dollars for a pint of strawberries? You gotta be out of your mind!) and fruit is starting to taste like fruit. Summer bodies are made in the winter. Start now, eat better, maybe go to the gym if you have a membership. I have a Planet Fitness not two blocks from me, but I don’t have a membership. I prefer to go outside when I can, but this prevents me from being able to workout regularly. I should buy a membership–it’s not like I don’t have podcasts to listen to while I’m on a treadmill. And ration out those Girl Scout cookies you bought last week from the girl down the street. Yes. I’m looking at you.
  4. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a shower.  Look, I get it. This time of year is horrible. I suffered from depression for a long time. With the issues I’ve had this winter, it’s easy for those feelings to come back. I’ve had surgery, I’ve dealt with a sick cat (cleaning up after her, and paying for the vet was HARD AND STRESSFUL), I have car problems. My husband isn’t around anymore (okay, that’s more of a plus, but still) and I’m alone, taking care of my two kids. My daughter’s school has been closed due to severe cold and blizzards and has had late starts, too, and both have interfered with my work schedule. All the snow this year has made me need to shovel more than ever before–Note to self: Never have carpal tunnel surgery in the winter. And yes, that has made me down. The lack of sun, the lack of fresh air, sometimes you just wanna cry. Cry–in the shower. Get dressed. Getting dressed can make a world of difference. Put some makeup on. I’m not talking about real depression here. If you need real help, then go get it. Thinking about hurting yourself is NEVER okay. Seasonal depression, cabin fever, situational depression, a down feeling you can have but will go away, that’s what I’m talking about.
    seasonal depression

    For more information about seasonal depression, click here.

    situational depression

    For more information on situational depression, click here.

    I have really bad situational/seasonal depression right now. But things will perk up. I just have to push through until they do.

  5. Never underestimate the power of family. Spending time with your family can help. If you’re feeling down, the first thought is always to distance yourself. If you have family around you, spend time with them. I just scheduled a dinner and movie night with my sister. It might be -10 below by the time the movie is over and even after its 3rd car appointment tomorrow morning, my car may still be leaking oil, but I’m getting out there.
  6. Make progress in some way. Keep chipping away at your work in progress. If you have a different hobby, work on that. Schedule little goals for yourself and don’t forget to reward yourself for doing them.
  7. Help someone on a deadline. If you can beta read, or grab and ARC for a review, maybe that can help keep you accountable. Someone else is counting on you. I just took an editing job. She needs me to get it done–and I will.
  8. Take your vitamins. I’m not a doctor, and anyone who takes meds needs to consult theirs before adding anything to their daily routine. I take adult gummies. The B vitamins lift my mood and the Vitamin D probably helps too.

All you can do is tough it out. Spring will come, in some parts of the world sooner than others. In Northern Minnesota, we probably won’t see a true rise in temperatures until early April. But I have a few things to look forward to between now and then, namely a new book release that I am anticipating very much. I’m also doing busy work with putting my books wide. I’m trying to stay busy, and I hope that it works. swimsuit quote

Find some things to brighten your spirits. Even if it’s just buying a new winter coat for next year–they’re all on clearance right now, right? Just avoid the new display of swimsuits, because nothing will make you feel worse than trying one of those torture contraptions on.


If you suffer from depression, seasonal or otherwise, please get help. If you’re reading this, please know I care about you and want you to take care of yourself!

If anyone needs:

The depression hotline number is 1-866-233-3459. They have a website that includes other resources, and you can find it here: https://www.psychguides.com/guides/depression-hotline/

The suicide prevention hotline number is: 1-800-273-8255 and their website is
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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Hang in there!

Let me know what you do to combat the cold and crazy cabin fever!

I’m still working my way through my series . . . .

jared and leah for end of blog posts